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The New Pornographers @ The Pabst Theater

Oct. 17, 2007

Dec. 12, 2007
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October 25, 2007

The New Pornographers are the quintessential mix-tape band. Their hook-filled pop songs dazzle in small doses, but with their chipper melodies and unwavering enthusiasm, they quickly begin to cloy over the course of an entire album. Any band this bombastic needs a foil to offset their perkiness, and that's where part-time Pornographers member Dan Bejar comes in. He brings a much-needed rock 'n' roll edge to the group.

Unlike singer Neko Case—another past-time member who blends right in when she tours with the group, banging on a tambourine and clearly enjoying the respite from her loftier solo material—Bejar never assimilates. He spent most of the group's show at the Pabst Theater last week offstage, emerging only for his handful of songs, which he sang between sips of red wine. He never addressed the audience, and barely acknowledged his band mates. Even in person, he was every bit the enigma he paints himself as with his full-time project, Destroyer.

Bejar's slippery, wordy tunes were easily the highlights of the set, and although there were only four of them, that's probably for the best. If the Pornographers have a fault, it's that they dole out too much of a good thing—too much melody, too many hooks, too much cheer—so they can be forgiven for being a little frugal with their most prized commodity.


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